From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has said that the state is safe and secure enough to attract foreign investment opportunities.
Governor Diri stated this when he led a delegation to meet with the Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ms. Samuela Isopi at the EU Embassy in Abuja.
The governor who is seeking areas of partnership and economic cooperation with the EU and its member countries, said his administration had placed priorities on security both on the land and in the maritime domain.
Governor Diri told the EU officials that Bayelsa State is blessed with different natural and mineral resources including gas that has the largest deposits in the state.
“You talked about peace, security and good governance, Bayelsa State where we come from is the centre of the Niger Delta. My government has prioritised security, hence, our newly established State Safety Corps is headed by no less a personality than a retired Brigadier-General, who has been mandated to ensure the sustenance of the peace and security in the state.
“This law will also ensure we engage about 6000 youths as security volunteers. This in itself will take many youths out of crime. It is a working model.
The governor said that he was excited by the commitment of the Ambassador to mobilise her colleagues from EU-member countries like France, Italy and Portugal to explore the gas potential in the state.
On education, Diri commended the EU for including Bayelsa State in its educational intervention programme for 2023 for training and capacity building of teachers.
He particularly commended the EU for the SEEFOR programme in which Bayelsa State benefitted before it was rested and urged them to initiate a similar impactful programme for youth and women in the state.
Responding to a concern raised by the EU Ambassador on the forthcoming general election, Governor Diri, assured that the election would be peaceful enough to return his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) back to power at the centre in 2023.
Earlier, the Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ms Samuela Isopi, said that the EU was open to workable collaborative efforts with the Bayelsa State Government to deepen possible areas of economic development.
The EU ambassador who has accepted an invitation by the Governor to visit Yenagoa as part of measures to boost the cooperation, said she was excited at the Education Development Trust Fund model employed by the Bayelsa state government to improve access to education by the citizens.
Those in the delegation of the governor included Dr. Gentle Emelah, Commissioner for Education, Dr. Peter Akpe, Acting Chief of Staff, Government House, Professor Turner Isoun, Chairman, Bayelsa State Education Development Trust Fund, Dr. Alice Atuwo, Executive Secretary, Bayelsa State Education Development Trust Fund, and an Education consultant to the Trust Fund, Mr. Phillip Slaboh.